Much has been written about UX (user experience) design in the past few years. Agencies have created thousands of new positions, all focusing on developing great user experiences when using both websites, mobile applications and much more.
A well designed user experience will result in satisfied clients, while a poorly designed UX could result in bad reviews and poor customer experience in general. Remember to check the great and free resource here for Android and iPhone statistics.
These days have seen companies tie this together to a number of other areas, such as small business marketing, and blog writing services to name a few, meaning this area have seen most of the use cases out there.
UX design does not just deal with the graphical aspect, in fact, many companies and design agencies have separate job roles for UX design, and UI (user interface) designs.
Broadly speaking, UX deals with the skeletal aspect of an app for instance, what should it do, why and how, while UI designers spend more time on making the interface look and feel right. Often times building on the wireframe already developed by the UX team. No matter whether one is more technical or graphical than the other, it all boils down to decisions in the end.
Speaking with Malthe Kringelbach Iversen from Nodes, an app development agency, about the current development, he is generally positive that more and more businesses are opening their eyes for this specific job position:
“We’ve seen a steady increase in applicants with UX design as their primary expertise. Compared to a few years ago, we hardly ever saw User Experience listed as a footnote, so overall we can say that the market has matured in this regard.”
“Furthermore, we are also experiencing an increase in competition for the best applicants, meaning that other agencies are also looking to fill this unique role. And I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year’s time everybody in the know has heard about UX designers and the impact they have on web and app development.”
Technically, anyone programming a website, developing mobile applications, or even those who decorate their physical store, are engaging in designing experiences for their users/customers. If you are still in doubt after reading up on this, or if wikipedia isn’t really your thing, uxdesign.com offers a somewhat lengthy but humanized approach what ux design is all about.
When you are deciding where to place the shelves in your store or choosing how the menu on your website should look, you are already making UX decisions whether you call it that or not.
By spending just a little time learning about UX you will soon realize that most of these decisions can be based on best-practice rules of thumb, with iPhone and Android leading the way in terms of defining these best practices digitally.
As mentioned before, this phenomenon have even taken to areas not normally associated with UX design. This includes the aforementioned blog writing services and small business marketing outlets, but we’ve seen various companies use this technique for other purposes.
A common thing to come across in this world, is when a client have based all the UX on their own subjective opinions and convictions. While it can work from time to time, it is far more common to be quite far from an optimal user experience. Because even though the client will have spent hours clicking through the application on his or her iPhone, if they haven’t approached the entire subject with a more analytical frame of mind, there is a high chance of missed opportunities, and without a solid framework, the entire project is likely to be based on subjective feelings, rather than concise data and fact.
In the author’s mind, the single most important factor besides common sense, would have to be end-user inclusion. Basically, in order for your users to get the best experience possible, it is often necessary to use somewhat of an iterative process, where your first versions are put under the scrutiny of the people intended to use the product. By getting feedback from the important target group, and combining that with standard rules of thumb, official Android and iPhone best practices, the chances of a successful product launch and subsequently, product use, are much higher. Many times it will be possible to use an existing template (a skeleton with the basic structure and functionality in place,) with a minimalistic but functional and well-founded set of rules, and then build on that template.
Overall, you could define UX as the total sum of all the interactions a user experiences when browsing your website, using your app, or otherwise engaging with your product. Obviously it is near impossible to create and design a perfect user experience, since it can be highly subjective, but using the guidelines provided by either the iPhone or Android developer guides, should eliminate a lot of the guesswork and randomness on any new or existing product.